1. The very latest studies from South Carolina continue to show, for the most part, a dead heat between Huck and McCain. One deviant result, from the American Research Group, is Huck with a seven point lead and Thompson with a real surge to a strong third. That could lead Fred, Mitt, and Rudy fans to hope for a combination of Huckabee first and Thompson second that might really take John out. Because studies aren’t showing the same thing and the Palmetto state is in for some nasty weathy today, I can’t say for sure that fantasy won’t become real. But because the old are more persistent in the face of adversity than the young, I’m guessing the weather might favor McCain. You might also say, of course, that Huck’s evangelicals are better mobilized and ready to go no matter what, but I have no idea whether or not that’s true.
2. I continue to be bothered by Huck’s exploitation of the Confederate flag issue, which is contrary to his whole record on race in Arkansas. It’s not a big deal, but a deal. I say this only to encourage him not repeat this error in future states.
3. Bill Kristol, at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, has an exellent article about Republicans applying too high an ideological standard to Huckabee, McCain, and Romney. He says, and I gotta agree, that all this Reagan nostalgia is sort of creepy. Reagan was the leader of an ideological movement, and candidates generally aren’t. A normal candidate is an impure mixture of a variety of elements. BUT: Huck is pro-life, pro-guns, pro-low taxes, and was a very popular governor of a conservative state. McCain’s voting record has consistently been rated very highly by the American Conservative Union etc. (That is--his voting record is actually quite different from Lieberman’s or Scoop Jackson’s.) Romney manages to be moderately conservative on every issue. (Rudy, for some reason, is missing from the article.) Bill’s advice: Be for your favorite candidate, stop demonizing the others, the ones mentioned all good enough.